- County: Essex
- Nearest Town(s): Saffron Walden
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time: 5 – 60 mins
- Height: 111m
- W3W: ///scrub.slimming.locator
- Map: OS Explorer 195 – Braintree and Saffron Walden
The Littlebury Hedge trig pillar is an easily bagged roadside pillar, just outside of Littlebury near Saffron Walden. We nabbed this one during a bicycle ride out from home during our allowed socially distanced exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic. I haven’t included a route here we started from home, but there are plenty of local footpaths, cycle paths and more that would make this an entertaining jaunt, especially if you take in Audley End.
We started out with fairly grand plans to ride the 33 mile loop in a couple of hours, with my trusty commuter Trek and Nick’s ancient (we’re talking 25 years old) bicycle that used to belong to his somewhat shorter dad.
While our bikes aren’t exactly top of the range (our money tends to go in hiking and climbing gear after all) we’ve been enjoying using them to get out and about in Cambridgeshire, where we’re blessed with flat countryside and a fantastic network of traffic free cycle paths. We figured our ride out today, the longest we had planned, would be a challenge but certainly doable.
We flew through the first section of the ride down to Ickleton – things were going great, my fancy new Garmin Fenix 5 was clocking up the average speed – no problem.
Then, we reached Coploe Hill.
Not a big hill, by anyone’s standards. Barely a bump really. For us though, used to cycling strictly flat, easy terrain and with Nick on a bike that weighs more than he does, it’s fiar to say we struggled up it.
Clearly too much banana bread was starting to take it’s toll.
Even so, we made it up – without caving and walking the bikes up the hill. Yes, we were passed by several road cyclists who wished us a nice ride (when did road cyclists get so friendly by the way?) but they are almost certainly helped by the fact that their bikes are lighter than air and helped out by some serious calf muscles…
Then for the best bit of any hill on your bike – the descent! Sustained and fast, and with the road entirely traffic free, we let the bikes freewheel and even managed to beat my personal best top speed!
Turn the corner and… wham! Another hill! I could feel my thighs screaming at me. By this point I was cursing Nick’s route planning and sent him on ahead so I can puff my way up the bump in the road in peace. And then, as we reached the end of Howe Wood, there stood the mighty trig pillar.
The View From The Pillar
Right next to the road, Littlebury Hedge Trig Pillar is indeed tucked in a hedge – but the landowner has kept the vegetation trimmed back, allowing for a surprisingly good view out across Essex and Cambridgeshire.
After regaining our breathe, we hopped back on the bikes to take the route down to Audley End. This bit included a brilliant downhill section that whizzed down into Littlebury in no time.
The Route Back
Turning out of Littlebury, we took the road into Audley End, passing by the beautiful Audley End House. It was shortly after here that Nick noticed that his biclcy was playing up.
Whilst we had a few tools with us, we didn’t have enough to fix the terminal issues with the bike – luckily, we weren’t far from the train station at Audley End, so we headed down there before Nick’s handlebars had a chance to fall off!
A quick train ride back (I was glad not to have to tackle to hills on the way back!) and we arrived at the station just 10 minutes ride from home.
All in all, a successful trig bag, with many calories burnt!